Another South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) worker has expressed her disgust with the new return to work policy imposed on healthcare workers who have contracted Covid-19.
The permanent worker, with 10 years of service said that she is thinking about leaving the profession altogether to take up another profession in which she has a degree.
“The caring aspect has left the profession.” The nurse lamented.
In a conversation with PSA Media, she said that it disgusted her to think that she often stood up for her patients and went all out for them but when she needed someone in her profession to stand for her it was like they were only following a policy.
The nurse explained that she was diagnosed with Covid-19 on the 21 January of this year after she was swabbed on the 17 of the same month. Later she was admitted to the Point Fortin Area hospital on the 23 of January but was discharged on February 3.
When her quarantine leave had ended on 16 February, she went to see doctors at the Occupational Medicine Unit as the new policy dictated. The worker said, “Although I complained of feeling unwell and was still exhibiting symptoms, I was given a fit to work document.” She noted that while doctors at the unit had told her that after 10 days a person was no longer infectious, she was still complaining about the tightness in her chest, shortness of breath, fatigue, and was coughing.
She added, “I then asked to see the staff doctor who ordered that I get an X-ray.”
She said that this X-ray was denied to her at the Pt. Fortin area hospital that she was admitted to. At the time, the doctor at that hospital told her that she did not want to expose her to too much radiation. However, she noted that when the X-ray was done at the San Fernando General Hospital she learned that she had a lung infection and was given more sick leave.
The nurse further lamented that she thought that this was unfair because it should have been quarantine leave. She said that she had already exhausted her sick leave for the year.
When PSA Media contacted the Industrial Relations Officer(IRO) of the Public Services Association(PSA), Ricardo Goolcharan on the issue, he stated that the SWRHA seemed to be using the policy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), which is part of the United States Public Health Service. Goolcharan pointed out that it was funny that the SWRHA was using one rule for patients in general and another for healthcare workers. “Ain’t healthcare workers people also?” He asked.
He stated that he had spoken to the head of the SWRHA, Brian Amour via email about the issue and the worker in question was told that an investigation would be launched into the matter. Goolcharan said that he had attached pictures of the X-ray as well as the sick leave document as part of the evidence proving that the patient was indeed unwell and a review of the Occupational Medicine Unit’s directive was needed.